Ergonomically Friendly Workspace: Setup Guide

Whoever said sitting is the new smoking was right. We weren’t meant to sit in a chair in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. That’s why improved office ergonomics can go a long way to prevent unnecessary pain and headaches. In this article, we will teach you how to set up an ergonomically friendly workspace.

Ergonomically Friendly Office Equipment:

There are many different tools that can be used to improve the way you work and make you more productive.  Many common upgrades include:

  • Ergonomic Chairs
  • Sit to Stand Desks
  • Foot Risers
  • Laptop Stands
  • Computer Screen Filters
  • Ergonomic Keyboards and Mice
  • and more

If you’re ready to improve your work space and occupational health today , please see this article: Office Ergonomics: Top 6 Gadgets For Your Desk!

Ergonomically Friendly Office Principles

Here are a couple tips to help optimize an ergonomically friendly work space:

1. Sitting:

Make sure your feet are firmly planted on a hard surface. For many this is the floor, but for some who may be vertically challenged you may need to prop your feet up a couple inches on something solid. Make sure your back is right up against the back rest and that there is at least room to fit 3 or 4 fingers between the back of your knees and the seat.

Ergonomically Friendly Office Chair

2. 90/90/90 Rule:

Your knees, hips, and elbows should be roughly bent to 90 degrees each.  This will help ensure your seat, arm rests, and desk are at the appropriate height.  Make note that your feet need to be flat on the floor.  If you aren’t able to achieve 90/90/90, you may need to include a foot riser as a more cost effective option.  Rather than replacing a desk or chair.

Ergonomically Friendly Foot Riser For Under the Desk

3. Armrests:

If your chair has armrests, they should be high enough that you don’t have to slouch to reach them but low enough that you don’t have to shrug your shoulders. Ideally your elbows will be at 90 degrees and your shoulders will be relaxed.

4. Primary Zone:

This is the distance between your elbows and your finger tips and is measured from the front of your body out. If you sit with your elbows stuck to your body and you rotate your arms outwards, the space you cover is inside the primary zone. Reserve this space for items you use to perform the majority of your work. (Example: If you type for most of the day and occasionally have to make a call, keep your keyboard in the center of the primary zone and the telephone just outside this space.)

Ergonomically Friendly Keyboard and Mouse

5. Monitors

 Try to keep your monitor directly in front of you so that you don’t have to turn your neck. When seated, your eyes should be at the height of the very top of your monitor’s screen. This can be a challenge if you do your work on a laptop, since the screen is often too low. Tip: If you do a lot of work on a laptop, prop it up so the top of the screen is at the level of your eyes and then add a secondary keyboard/mouse (USB or Wireless) at the level of your elbows.

Ergonomically Friendly Computer Monitor Setup

6. Rest Breaks:

These tips can help you optimize your work station but I would still also recommend interrupting at least every 30 minutes of continuous seated work with a quick break to stand up and change positions even if it’s for only 5-10 seconds.

Smart Watch For Ergonomically Friendly Rest Breaks


We spend way too much time at work to have to endure pain or discomfort.  The job needs to fit the person, and not the other way around.  I strongly suggest making notes of the 5 principles in this article, printing them, and keeping them next to your now ergonomically friendly workspace.  

Every few months it would be worthwhile to make a quick self audit to make sure you are still working in the best possible conditions.  Your health is worth it.

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    1. […] Often in the absence of clear trauma to the shoulder it is difficult to understand what caused the problem in the first place.  The true cause of your pain may be related to a mechanical issue in an other area.  I commonly treat concurrent issues in neck, mid back, shoulder blades, as well as look at potential ergonomic issues (see How To Set Up An Ergonomically Friendly Workspace) […]

    2. […] Neck pain can start for many different reasons including car accidents, poor ergonomics, postural or degenerative changes,etc.  It can also be related to spending too much time on social media or reading blogs (yeah I’m talking to you). Here is another helpful post while we’re here. How To Set Up An Ergonomically Friendly Workspace […]

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